Creators Hub
Published in

Creators Hub


How to Impress Editors and Other Tips on the Business of Writing

One writer shares his secret to success on Medium and beyond

Hefty, the Amazing Tech Story Pitching Dog. Source: Nick Wolny.

Nobody ever said making a living from writing was easy, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science either. I’m the lead editor of the Medium gadget blog Debugger where I regularly work with Partner Program writers to help them find a bigger audience and get paid for their writing. I first started working with Nick Wolny due in no small part to the adorable picture he sent me of his dog named Hefty.

It wasn’t just that Nick and I shared a love of dogs, although that helped. It was that at the very end of my Debugger launch post, I’d said that writers could send Medium drafts, pitches, and dog pics to Sending the photo and referencing this quip in his first email to me meant that Nick had read to the very end of the post. It’s hard to explain how important this is to editors whose inboxes are often full of pitches that are sometimes wildly outside of the topics the publication covers. I don’t expect everyone to have read my Debugger launch post and have a cute dog pic at the ready, but you’d be surprised at how often I get pitches from people who I’m certain have never read one word of what we’ve published on Debugger.

Nick’s initial email led to a story about how to look great on Zoom, why you really need a password manager, how to use an old iPhone to set better work boundaries, and others. In addition to stories in Elemental, Mind Cafe, and Entrepreneur’s Handbook, Nick also writes a regular column for The Writing Cooperative. Here he tackles everything a freelance writer needs to know about the business of writing.

On defining your rates:

“A tried-and-true formula to identify your hourly freelance rate is to take your desired salary and divide it by 2,000 hours/year (This accounts for two weeks of paid time off). Be sure to budget for taxes and any expenses.”

On how to write while you still have a day job:

There’s nothing worse than moving mountains to free up two hours of your day to write, only to spend that time staring at a blank page and making no progress whatsoever. To prevent this as much as possible, have a repository of ideas ready to go. Then when you sit down to write, write about the next article in your queue — even if you don’t feel like it.

On Gmail shortcuts that can help you spend more time writing and less time wading through your email:

I take just one of five actions with every email I come across: reply or forward, file into a “do later” folder, file into a “read later” folder (for newsletters or articles), file into a client folder, or delete.

I’ve been writing online and off for fun and profit for over 20 years and I still regularly learn new things from Nick’s columns. So, follow Nick, read his work, and if you write about gadgets or consumer technology, send me your pitches (and dog pics) to




Creators Hub is the official resource for writing on Medium. You’ll find advice for succeeding on Medium, spotlights on thinkers across the platform, and inside secrets from fellow creators. We’re here to help you write better, post smarter, and connect with more readers.

Recommended from Medium

The Most Frightening Story We Ever Wrote

My Brain on Writing

10 Ways You Can Increase Your Presence Online

Don’t Overthink It

I’m Not a Writing Success Because I Write Personal Essays

Don’t Stress About Writing On Medium — You’ll Do Great If You Nail These 3 Things

How I Wrote My Book Part One

Find Your Rage Button and You’ll be Unstoppable

Brain power.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Megan Morrone

Megan Morrone

Tech Journalist 👩🏽‍💻

More from Medium

How to Do Nothing and Still Live a More Meaningful Life

a black and white photograph of the top of a brick building with a clock on one wall, a rounded dome on the top with a steeple; on the right a large tree trunk frames the photo

I Used to Give a Starter Question at the Start of School

It Takes Two to Doodle

Comic of cartoon characters John and Lisa drinking tea on the turret of their castle tower against a background of a starry night. From a Background Noise comic called “Crumbling.” Art by John Hazard